NEW DELHI: Thanks to its aggressive shopping in international arms bazaars and very limited indigenous supplies, India was the world’s largest arms importer between 2007 and 2011, according to the latest data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
India accounted for 10% of global arms imports in 2007-11, SIPRI said on Monday. The four next largest recipients of arms in the same period were South Korea (6% of arms transfers), Pakistan(5%), China(5%) and Singapore (4%).
The figures were not surprising given India’s huge reliance on imports, at about 70% of its total defence requirements. Since the Kargil conflict of 1999, India has been steadily buying up arms and ammunition from foreign suppliers, and has consistently been among the top defence importers of the world.
The most visible trend during 2007-11 was how China, which was the largest recipient of arms exports in 2002-2006, fell to fourth position in 2007-11. The decline in Chinese imports coincided with significant growth of the Asian giant’s indigenous arms industry and its rising arms exports, the report said.
“Between 2002-2006 and 2007-11, the volume of Chinese arms exports increased by 95%.Chinanow ranks as the sixth largest supplier of arms in the world, narrowly trailing the United Kingdom,” SIPRI said.
“While the volume of China’s arms exports is increasing, this is largely a result of Pakistan importing more arms from China,” said Paul Holtom, director of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme. “China has not yet achieved a major breakthrough in any other significant market,” he said.
“Major Asian importing states are seeking to develop their own arms industries and decrease their reliance on external sources of supply,” said Pieter Wezeman, senior researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme. “A large share of arms deliveries is due to licensed production,” he said.
Asia and Oceania accounted for 44% of global arms imports, followed by Europe (19%), the Middle East (17%), the Americas(11%) and Africa(9%), the think tank said.